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Vote Hemp: 2016 States Report Documenting Legislative Progress

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WASHINGTON, DC – Vote Hemp, the nation’s leading grassroots hemp advocacy organization working to change state and federal laws to allow commercial hemp farming, has released its 2016 States Report. The report documents state-by-state progress of hemp legislation passed in 2016, reported acreage of hemp grown, identifies states with active hemp pilot farming programs and advocacy work the organization has lead over the past year. To view the complete Vote Hemp 2016 States Report, please visit: http://www.votehemp.com/state/PDF/VH-State-Support-Report-2016.pdf.

“We’ve seen enormous progress this past year toward returning this historic crop to American farmlands, with 15 states that grew hemp and 30 colleges & universities that participated in hemp pilot program research in 2016,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “U.S. consumers constitute the largest market for hemp products in the world–the demand is here for full scale hemp farming across the country. But growing the crop remains restricted at the federal level, due to outdated and misguided drug policy. We need Congress to take action this year to legalize this crop, so that American farmers can take advantage of the enormous economic opportunity industrial hemp presents.”

Since the passage of Section 7606 of the Farm Bill, “Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research,” hemp cultivation in the U.S. has grown rapidly. In 2016 alone, 9,649 acres of hemp were planted across 15 states; 817 hemp cultivation licenses were issued; and 30 universities conducted research on the crop. Among the fastest-growing categories in the natural foods industry, hemp seed is a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), providing both SDA and GLA, highly-digestible protein, and naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and iron. An excellent source of dietary fiber, hemp seed is also a complete protein—meaning it contains all ten essential amino acids, with no enzyme inhibitors, making it more digestible by the human body. Advancements in hemp research and manufacturing demonstrate the remarkable versatility and product-potential for hemp. Hemp bast fiber has shown promising potential to replace graphene in supercapacitor batteries, which could then be used to power electric cars and handheld electric devices and tools. Hemp fiber can also be used to create environmentally friendly packaging materials, and hard bio-plastics for use in everything from airplanes to car parts. Hemp houses are also on the rise, as hempcrete, which is energy-efficient, non-toxic, resistant to mold, insects and fire, has many advantages to synthetic building materials, lumber and concrete.

To date, thirty-one states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. These states are able to take immediate advantage of the industrial hemp research and pilot program provision, Section 7606 of the Farm Bill: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

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Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow the agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop’s many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com.

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